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Estates Division


Cavendish III


The new Cavendish Laboratory is a major new project to replace existing facilities for the Department of Physics at West Cambridge. The 37,160sqm building has been designed by Jestico + Whiles and will support the world-leading research carried out by the department.

The Cavendish Laboratory has an extraordinary history of discovery and innovation in Physics since it opened in 1874 under the direction of James Clerk Maxwell, the University's first Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics. Prior to this, outstanding experiments by Isaac Newton, Thomas Young and George Gabriel Stokes were all carried out in their colleges. The original Cavendish Laboratory in the centre of Cambridge was named after William Cavendish, the seventh Duke of Devonshire and Chancellor of the University, who funded the construction and equipping of the Laboratory from his own resource.  He was a distant relative of Henry Cavendish of the Cavendish experiment. The prestigious Laboratory has so far trained 29 Nobel laureates - the old Laboratory is the site where the atom was split, sub-atomic particles discovered and DNA unravelled.

The new Cavendish lll building will house a number of Physics research groups, their laboratories, cleanrooms, office and support accommodation, along with a public wing housing two lecture theatres, seminar rooms, learning resource centre, common room, outreach and the ‘Cavendish Collection’ exhibition. The building will meet stringent vibration criteria, electromagnetic interference controls and other technical requirements.

Built around a concept that improves circulation and collaboration, the 3 and 4 storey building has been designed to respond positively to the public realm adjacent to the building with an impressive raised plaza that makes a seamless connection to the new open space that will sit to the south of the building. The building has integrated sustainability into the design, targeting BREEAM excellent and using sustainable drainage techniques to manage water on site. 770 cycle spaces are proposed reflective of the high proportion of staff and students that use sustainable modes of transport. The Cavendish III building is scheduled to open at the end of 2022, with construction expected to start in 2019. 

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